Saturday, 20 July 2013
Some Yakety Yakking about Yak Yarn
If you like yak yarn, or wish to try working with some, you might consider buying it from The Rocking Yak. About a decade ago Bret Colledge, the founder of The Rocking Yak, was backpacking through the mountain villages in southwest China and was struck by the poverty and desperation of the Tibetan people there. He decided he had to help them by giving them a way to support themselves and their families, and so formed The Rocking Yak company, which employs Tibetan women who use their traditional spinning and knitting skills to produce high-quality hand-produced yak fibres, yarn, and garments.
Spinners can buy The Rocking Yal's fibres and spin and dye them into their own yarn. Knitters can purchase The Rocking Yak yarn, which comes in its natural brown, a dyeable cream, and a few hand-dyed colours, and is available in light, medium, and bulky weights. The Rocking Yak also offers a few very basic knitting patterns for free. If you are a non-knitter or don't care to add yet another item to your already endless list of projects, The Rocking Yak sells some hand-knitted items.
Some stores in U.S., Canada, and China sell Rocking Yak yarn; for those of us who don't live near one of the stores on the list, Rocking Yak's products are available online, and they offer free shipping on U.S. orders over $30. I've had no dealings with The Rocking Yak or with yak yarn myself, but I've looked at the all the projects made with The Rocking Yak yarn on Ravelry, and I see a lot of beautiful items and no complaints whatsoever.
Here's a slide show of the Tibetan knitters and spinners and other The Rocking Yak employees at work, with bonus shots of some unsuspecting yaks, who have no idea how their down (which is gathered after they've shed it, not shorn) is helping the people they live among.